Focus Areas FAQ

Am I required to choose and complete a focus area?

No. Students are not required to choose or complete any focus area -- it is entirely optional. You can use the focus-area information simply for guidance and planning.

Does the focus-area curriculum change any of the requirements for graduation?

No. Upper-division students are still required to take Constitutional Law, Legal Writing II, Evidence, and Professional Responsibility. The focus-area curriculum does not increase or decrease the requirements for graduation.

I have just completed my first year of law school. Do I have time to complete a focus area before I graduate?

Yes, if you plan accordingly. This curriculum is designed to allow students who are in their first year to complete a focus area by the time they graduate.

I have just completed my second year of law school. Do I have time to complete a focus area before I graduate?

Probably not. The focus-area curriculum is designed to be spread out over the second and third years. You can, however, still use the focus-area information to plan your third-year curriculum and your career path. In addition, even if you can't complete a focus area before you graduate, focus-area faculty is available to advise you on course selection and career planning.

If I complete a focus area, is this noted on my transcript?

No. Students who complete a focus area can note this on their resumes and discuss its significance in cover letters or within interviews. Students can also ask faculty who act as references to include information about the focus-area concept and its value in letters of recommendation.

Does choosing a focus area increase the number of prerequisite courses (courses that students must complete before taking designated courses)?

Yes. While some of the focus areas consist of course clusters and few or no prerequisites, others are more vertical in design and require that courses be taken in a particular order. For example, courses that involve administrative concepts in a particular substantive setting have Administrative Law as a prerequisite. The goal is to offer a coherent curriculum in which courses build on each other and to provide a more in-depth and integrated learning experience. If you are interested in an area that has a number of prerequisite courses, you should plan to take those prerequisite courses during your second year in order to give you maximum flexibility in your third year.

Will every course listed within the focus area be offered every year or before I graduate?

No. We are reasonably certain that we can provide sufficient courses for day students to complete the focus areas offered, but you may need to take electives that are not your first choices or that are offered only in the evening. We will try to minimize scheduling conflicts, but they will undoubtedly occur.

If I am completing a focus area, am I given lottery priority for courses within that focus area?

No. We try to anticipate changes in enrollment patterns and have sufficient offerings, but we do not give lottery priority to students who are pursuing a particular focus area.

If I am an evening student beginning my second year, will I be able to complete a focus area?

It depends. It is difficult to provide the same number of focus-area opportunities for evening students because the number of course offerings in the evening is smaller, by necessity, than during the day when there are more hours. We hope that evening students will have the opportunity to choose from two or three focus areas, but we can't guarantee that this will be possible. If you can take occasional day classes, it will greatly increase the likelihood that you will be able to complete a focus area.